What are compound movements and why are they better for getting results? I’ve been going to the gym for YEARS and I often see people wasting valuable time on exercises that they don’t need to be doing. Don’t get me wrong; any exercise at the gym is better than sitting at home or leading a sedentary life. But that doesn’t mean all exercises are the same. Some are DEFINITELY better than others.
Compound exercises are the best for getting the most out of your workout, no matter what results you’re looking for. Compound exercises are movements that include multiple joints and multiple muscle groups (i.e. squats, deadlifts and pull ups). But why? In this case, there are 4 main reasons compound exercises are better:
- More Calories Burnt: If you’re in the gym working out, you likely want to be burning as many calories as possible, whether you want to lose weight, tone up or even get bulkier. Anytime you include multiple muscle groups, more muscles are contracting during the movement, more energy (ATP) is required to power these muscle groups and more calories get burnt.
- Less Time in the Gym: Related to point number 1, you will get more done in less time by working multiple muscle groups at the same time. If you do 3x10 bicep curls and 3x10 reverse fly, you take at least twice as long as you would just completing 3x10 pull ups with the same (or worse!) results.
- Compound Movements are more Functional: What does a “functional” movement mean? It’s something that gets you better at life! In this case, picture yourself picking up a heavy bag of dog food off of the floor. That’s the same movement pattern as a deadlift. Or squatting down to look in the bottom cupboard (my wife is about 5 feet tall and puts all of our dishes on the bottom shelf, so I know EXACTLY what this feels like) is the same pattern as a squat. The whole point of working out is to get better at life, so why wouldn’t you mimic the movements?
- You’ll look like you know what you’re doing- Admittedly, it depends who is watching you. But anyone at the gym, either trainer or athlete, who sees you squatting, deadlifting or doing pull ups will immediately have respect for you. It might even earn you a “knowing nod” from across the gym after a good set.
Sure, those people that are planning on doing body-building competitions will be spending 2 hours in the gym carefully sculpting each individual muscle group. But for the rest of us, who has the time? Better to the get most out of your workout in the least amount of time. That way we can spend more time kicking ass at life.
Download our free e-book: Functional fitness vs. Weights & Cardio